Rosemary Mahoney was determined to take a solo trip down the Egyptian Nile in a small boat, even though civil unrest and vexing local traditions conspired to create obstacles every step of the way.
Starting off in the south, she gained the unlikely sympathy and respect of a Muslim sailor, who provided her with both a seven-foot skiff and a window into the culturally and materially impoverished lives of rural Egyptians. Egyptian women don't row on the Nile, and tourists aren't allowed to for safety's sake. Mahoney endures extreme heat during the day, and a terror of crocodiles while alone in her boat at night.
Whether she's confronting deeply held beliefs about non-Muslim women, finding connections to past chroniclers of the Nile, or coming to the dramaticm realization that fear can engender unwarranted violence, Rosemary Mahoney's informed curiosity about the world, her glorious prose, and her wit never fail to captivate.